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Roman sarcophagus: 3rd-4th century

Roman sarcophagus: 3rd-4th century
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm

Full image caption

White marble sarcophagus, one side decorated with flutings, a bust of a man and an inscription.
The centre of the front side is carved with a low funerary altar with bolsters, inscribed:
(Gaius Etruscus set this up to his dearest Atia for her merits).
Above the altar and set within a clipeus is a veiled, perhaps togate, portrait bust of the deceased with his right arm shown emerging to grasp the folds. In the spandrels on either side of the clipeus are small dolphins. Flanking the central altar and clipeus are two matching sets of eighteen stopped flutings. There are corner pilasters at the ends. The sides and back are plain, but the sides have rectangular cramp recesses with cylindrical holes at end. Claw tool-marks are visible on the dressed left hand end.
Sarcophagi that are strigillated vertically in this manner are rare, but another is known from London (accession 51.75). More usual are s-shape vertical flutings or s-shapes at an angle, like those seen on the sarcophagus from Haydon Square at the British Museum.
The decorated side was intended to be on display in a mausoleum. This rare find is presumably evidence for a settlement or wealthy farmstead on the banks of the Lea at Clapton.

Image Details

200 AD - 450 AD
Image Number

© Museum of London

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